The Naples-Fort Myers restaurant chain is looking for a generous customer who left $ 10,000 in cash to their employees.
Ross Edlund thinks the customer’s name may be Bill or Bob.
Edlund, owner of the Skillets restaurant chain in Naples, knows a man wants to eat on the patio with his laptop on weekdays when the weather is nice. On weekends, he brings his family for brunch.
Last week, the day before Governor Ron DeSantis forced the dining halls to close, a mystery Skillets regularly handed a stack of cash to the manager at a pavilion at a store on Vanderbilt Beach Road: $ 10,000 in cash.
“We don’t know who he was yet. I’m trying to figure it out,” Edlund said.
“It’s fun because we have regulars who have come forever and they’re friends, but we don’t always know their name. We know their faces, their orders, their favorite tables, but we don’t know exactly who they are.”
The 20 employees of the Pavillion restaurant distributed $ 10,000 in their pocket to $ 500. The next day, most lost their jobs when the 25-year-old restaurant closed its nine dining rooms from Naples to Fort Myers and Venice.
Edlund estimates that he had to lay off 90% of his 200 employees.
He closed his 5-month-old Venice store due to a lack of business. He has run eight other restaurants that serve pickup services with two to three employees on skeleton staff.
“To-go was only about 5% of our sales above all else,” Edlund said.
“I look at the car next to McDonald’s and the cars are lined up around the block because that’s what they do. That’s what they’re built for. Breakfast here is an experience. It’s about getting out of the house and letting someone else take care. we will try our best. “
Although the $ 10,000 tip was the most positive act his team saw, it was hardly the only one.
Edlund said his servers saw a wealth of generous tips last week, and will continue to see them as regulars take orders and order their way.
Another regular, having eaten at Skillets since opening its first store near the corner of Pine Ridge and Airport-Pulling Road in 1995, gave Edlund an envelope early last week. The front reads, “Don’t open unless you close.” Edlund opened it on Friday afternoon and found $ 150 in cash. He distributed the money to his employees.
“We take it day by day,” Edlund said.
“We make sure that no one loses their health benefits. We advise our staff to apply for unemployment.”
When searching for a $ 10,000 mystery donor, Edlund is also watching the $ 2 trillion coronavirus rescue bill through congress. He is pleased to see that the bill is giving more money to employees, not just large companies.
“These people deserve it,” he said. “Not everyone should go to the top. It should go to the people who make life happen every day. They suffer the most. They need this money the most.”
Eight Skillets slots south of Naples Fort Myers are open from 8am to 1pm. daily pick-up and roadside. Find a menu and more at skilletsresdox.com.
This story was originally published on naplesnews.com and distributed to other Florida newspapers in the United States on TODAY Network – Florida.